SYN ZE SASE TRI
'Sub Semnul Lupului'
Featuring one time vocalist from Negura Bunget’s last effort “Vîrstele Pămîntului”, Syn Ze Sase Tri are another one of those acts with connections, albeit loose, from that small cluster of atavistic and nature centered group that includes Negura, Martolea and Dorededuh. But that’s essentially where the comparisons cease as this group of Romanians toil away at a rather more symphonic and accessible style of black metal that is vastly distanced from the primitive atmospheric endeavours of their peers, choosing to mould their sound around that exhibited by Dimmu Borgir and Ancient among others.
A swift dissection of the cover tells you all you need to know about 'Sub Semnul Lupului' really; on first glance it’s rather impressive, detailed and vibrantly coloured but typically full of the old clichéd CGI and wolves and warriors and all that twaddle. Closer analysis reveals an album that could have been so much more, one which often showcases brief flashes of brilliance unfortunately bogged down with a multitude of genre-notorious clichés and stacks of untapped potential for a hugely talented band. Given the rather awful name, which translates to “I’m With Triple Six”, first impressions weren’t too hot and on the first run through my opinion wasn’t exactly favourable.
The first half of the album is mediocre at best really, by the book symphonic black metal with the keys and synths marauding around all over the place adding a ‘gothic horror’ type vibe which is the strongest aspect of the album and integral to their sound. None of the songs really stand out and grab you by the throat though, yet they threaten so much more. The guitar riffing is so flat and clinical, melo-death-esque thick chugging riffs with no imagination or thought at all really put into them, and at times it becomes completely overwhelmed by the keyboard infused blur that it often descends into. The lead guitar is better though nothing awe-inspiring; indeed it serves its purpose sufficiently without ever threatening much more.
It does have its pluses though, the title track does begin with some interesting and moody Gregorian styled chanting before commencing its faced paced symphonic assault and “Vatra Stramoseasca” contains echoes of Sear Bliss in its subtle use of brass which is no bad thing. The dual vocals of Corb and Lycan are somewhat interesting and the deeper death growls add a welcome touch of brutality to a genre not otherwise renowned for such, while you have the more typical high pitched Shagrath styled rasp slotting in alongside.
It’s from the middle of the album where it really shifts up a level altogether, notably in the acoustic grandiosity of “In Pantecu Pamantului” which bears a remarkable affinity to Nokturnal Mortum’s “Sky of Saddened Nights” and is utterly enthralling in its astral stroked melancholy. This significant shift in their musical focus I feel is a direction they should delve into in the future, as these Romanian acts have proved time and time again how fucking great they are at this style. “Inaripat Sie Impietrit” continues this furrow of organic, introspective and atmospheric brilliance with more focus on the ‘metal’ this time summoning crystalline visions of freshly bloodied snow and the dwindling embers of a setting sun.
As it closes, I’m left so frustrated that they didn’t choose to produce the whole album in this vein; it’s that fucking good. Still, those in need of an acceptable dose of sugary symphonic black metal from the same furrows as Catamenia, Ancient and Graveworm I would say give it a shot, though the album's true power and grandiosity really doesn’t begin to materialize until its far far too late, though the potential is there clearly for all to see, it’s just what they decide to do with it next is the real question. 
[Originally written for The Metal Observer]